Besides the celebration, what happens if you get a promotion? What if you need to leave your company for some reason or you find yourself called to a different path in life? If any of these occur, what happens to your team? A great leader is always on the lookout for people they can teach and mentor. They search not for more followers but for potential leaders who can replace them. They develop leaders, not more followers.
So how do you develop another you? Another great leader? Begin with these four methods.
Give them experiences tailored to leadership.
As a manager or leader, you have certain tasks that are not required of anyone but you. Find ways that your potential leaders can gain experience in those areas. If you make a presentation once a month, allow your mentee to try her hand at it. As you develop their leadership skills, watch for unique talents they can apply to managing. Look for skills that you didn’t use because you didn’t have that talent. Allow them to see behind the curtain and try their hand at the parts of your position that are invisible to most.
Teach them to network.
Networking events can be painful and awkward, but great leaders jump in and do the work no matter how they feel. Teach your candidates how to network by having them follow you and watch how you initiate conversations. After they’ve witnessed your techniques for a while, they will be equipped to network independently. Networking is extremely valuable no matter the job. Giving your mentee the chance to cultivate abilities and confidence in networking is vital to the future of your company. As they progress into leadership roles, they’ll already have contacts and people skills.
Allow them to fail.
E.M Forster said, “Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”
It is highly beneficial for your leaders-in-training to fail, so you need to give them that chance. Push them to figure out problems on their own and then allow them to act on the wrong solution. Micromanaging will not teach your candidates how to stand on their own when they move into the leadership role. Of course, this doesn’t mean allowing their failures to affect the company while you just watch. But little by little, allow your leaders-in-training more responsibility.
Trust them to lead.
Just as it is difficult to watch your child leave your nest, it is a hard decision to allow your leader-in-training to leave your watchful eyes to lead independently. In order to complete the development of a leader, you must take your hands off the result. Think about it: If you teach your leader-in-training how to make smart, informed decisions, but still require that they run every idea by you before they’re allowed to make a move, how empowered will they feel?
Begin now to look around and select employees that you see have potential for leadership. If you do leave your company or your current position, you will have a succession plan in place for continued growth without you.
Leaders develop more leaders.